I basically spent most of the day wandering the streets with my eyes wide open enjoying everything. They are currently in the process of a huge rejuvenation here in this area, many buildings and statues are being worked on, some of the streets are being widened, and there are a couple fantastic little parks. It's pretty neat. To get an idea of what things look like, check out my GPS track with geotagged photos or punch into my photostream on flickr.
- Had lunch in a pollaria, quite good. I just sorta picked one at random – they are all over. The one thing I had read about but I think is weird still is that even in a restaurant you don't actually give money to the server or waiter or whomever. Instead they give you a little piece of paper which you take over to the caja (cashier) who is in a plastic or glass box and pay them. I'm not sure why this happens but it seems widespread.
- Did some grocery shopping at a huge store here called Metro that I stumbled across. Ended up getting some shampoo (forgot it) and soap as well as some water and drinks for the trip tomorrow.
- Lots of stores and stuff here but I didn't really buy anything. I figure the smaller towns will be better for this, we shall see!
- The old colonial architecture here is really quite impressive. These buildings have character that is hard to find in the US, even in DC. In DC the same buildings would be overbearing with huge massive marble fronts and stuff.
- Armed guards are EVERYWHERE. You can't walk a block without seeing security, army, or police guards wearing body armor and holding automatic weapons. There's also a lot of police with some really wicked looking muzzled dogs. The government building especially was intense, two armed guards every ten feet or so. They definitely take things seriously here!
- Taxis taxis EVERYWHERE. Again like Bogota, or like New York I guess except worse. Literally 9/10 cars you see are taxis, many of them "temporary" taxis (normal looking cars with a handwritten TAXI sign in the windshield). Most of the taxis are super teeny, run down, loud, and drive like crazy nutters. Some of them are all kitted out – I saw one rusted clunker with faux-Recaro racing seats in it and a big wing on the back heh.
- I saw one real blond person all day. Aside from gray hair, I have the lightest hair by far of people on the street. On top of that, I'm like a freaking giant here. Maybe one out of twenty or thirty people is my height (5'9") – boy that's a change! If my friend Diana who is a 5'11" blond had been able to come with she would have stuck out like a sore thumb everywhere heh.
Ok I guess that's enough for now. I need to finish unwinding so I can crash – have to be up around 5AM tomorrow in order to get to Desamparados train station to catch the ferro carril to Huancayo. Then the real fun begins!
... added @ 7:35PM - rut ro, rumor is that the train is cancelled. What else can go wrong? lol.